X-Message-Number: 3317
From: Brian Wowk <>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 94 11:53:42 CDT
Subject: CRYONICS Brain scanning, reply to David Stodolsky

David Stodolsky:
> I said, "theoretical alternative". Do we agree that one could escape
> information theoretical death with Merkle's approach, given you had
> $6 Billion or so on hand?
        No. (see below)  
>>P.S. I've read Ralph Merkle's "Large Scale Analysis of Neural 
>>Structures" monograph too.  In it even Ralph admits, "A complete 
>>analysis of the cellular connectivity of a structure as large as the 
>>human brain is only *a few decades away*." (emphasis mine).  And Ralph 
>>is an optimist.
> Isn't this a requirement for revival? That is not the question here.
> Could we do safe storage with today's techniques, so that analysis could
> occur in the future?
        No.  Ralph was speaking about the capability to merely *read* the
neural connectivity information of a brain into a computer.  His
"Large Scale Analysis..." monograph was essentially a feasibility
study of a human genome project-style billion-dollar mega-project 
to download (upload?) the connectivity information of a *single brain* 
into a computer.  The resulting data (10^15 bits) would be enough
to keep neuroscientists busy for the next century.  
        I agree that Ralph's proposed project is very important for 
neuroscience.  But it is absurd to compare this project to cryonics
as a life-saving measure!  If you want to save lives, forget 6 billion 
dollars over 20 years.  Give me 6 *million* dollars, and in five years 
I'll give you perfected brain cryopreservation.  You are then free to
spend the next hundred years, if you want, figuring out how to read
that brain into a computer.
        In fact, if I was in charge if a brain-mapping project, I
would spend the first 0.1% of my budget perfecting biostasis of
intact whole brains.  Indeed, cryonics is not in *competition* with brain 
mapping.  It is probably a *pre-requisite* to brain mapping!!
> There are some who think that being reduced to binary bits is not only
> superior to cryonics, but potentially superior to living in any biological 
> form. 
        David, if you were living during the time of the Wright brothers,
would you have spent time telling them about the importance and
superiority of hypersonic scramjets over internal combustion engines?
--- Brian Wowk

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